Introducing a little bundle of joy to the wider world is something that any parent with a penchant for travel is likely to look forward to. But pick the wrong destination and your dream holiday could very well turn into a logistical nightmare of sleepless flights, distant amenities and a lack of fun, family-friendly things to do. Play it safe, consider one of our top 10 European destinations for babies and toddlers, and prepare for a trip to cherish forever…
Avoid the crowds that swarm much of the southern coastline of Portugal and plan a trip to the far western end of the Algarve, a protected area of natural beauty. The quaint town of Salema with its whitewashed houses offers a glimpse of authentic Portugal whilst the beach’s soft sands and gentle waves make it the ideal spot for children to paddle safely.
The Canary Islands are prized for their sweeping sandy beaches, short flight distance from the UK and consistently warm temperatures all year round. The resort of Playa Blanca on Lanzarote boasts a safe, sandy beach and a wide, buggy-friendly promenade. If one of the myriad family-friendly hotel packages doesn’t appeal, a private villa just out of town could suit.
Another short-haul hotspot, the Balearic Island of Majorca offers a mix of beautiful beaches such as those in Alcudia, family-friendly accommodation, and an assortment of restaurants and bars where young families are welcomed.
Another of the Canary Islands (all of which have something unique to offer families), Tenerife is renowned for its sunny climes and spacious beaches. However, active parents might relish the opportunity to strap a baby pack to their back and get back to nature with a hike on Mount Teide.
Forget Ibiza’s party reputation for just a moment; this bohemian paradise has become something of a haven for the hippy mum or dad looking for a rejuvenating break with their little one along for the ride. Holy Mama Yoga Retreats has opened a branch on the island which offers countryside accommodation for mums and children along with organic, vegetarian meals, yoga and creative children’s programmes to boot.
The warmth of the Sicilian people make for a great match with children, and the delicious cuisine, wonderful natural landscapes and family-friendly resort towns aren’t half bad either. Beach lovers will enjoy the soft sands of San Vito Lo Capo or Cefalu whilst nature enthusiasts and history buffs will find themselves equally well served by the glorious national parks and ancient archaeological sites found throughout the island.
If you’re a family that would choose the crisp, fresh air of the Alps over a sunny beach holiday, consider Austria’s Grossarltal Valley, located just outside Salzburg. Here you can pack picnics and take the little ones on gentle treks through magnificent countryside, whilst keeping one eye open for curious cows and wildlife.
The wide range of both island and mainland destinations that make up Greece offer a variety of experiences for the new family. Rhodes, Halkidiki and Zakynthos are some of the more popular family destinations thanks to their excellent, Blue Flag beaches and family-friendly hotels, restaurants and attractions.
Just a short hop, jump and skip across the Channel, a journey to France is one of the easiest to attempt with a new baby or fidgety toddler. Stick to the northern region of Brittany where sumptuous countryside makes an idyllic setting for family camping trips or head towards Paris with older toddlers who might want to meet Mickey at Disneyland Paris.
If you want to stay closer to home, Ireland’s emerald hills and rugged coastline offer an abundance of natural attractions that will inspire the spirit of adventure in young minds. Most of the cities are easy to walk around as well as being buggy-friendly, and afternoon performances of Irish music are something the whole family will enjoy.
Wherever you take your kids this year, be sure to purchase the right travel insurance for your trip. We have plans that will ensure you and your loved ones are covered against a range of eventualities, so that you can relax and focus on making the most